Thousands of East Coast Armenians March for Justice
Posted on October. 16. 2020
BY KRISTINA AYANIAN
BOSTON, Mass.—An estimated two-thousand impassioned Armenian compatriots from across the eastern region took to the streets of Boston for the second time in 10 days on Sunday to condemn the international community for its inaction amid Azerbaijan’s recent attacks on Artsakh and Armenia.
Diasporan Armenians amassed outside the Turkish Consulate on St. James Avenue to highlight Turkey’s involvement in Azerbaijan’s incursion. Youth activists passionately led chants including “Turkey out of NATO,” “Baku wants Armenia, Armenia wants peace,” and “No more war.”
(Photo: Knar Bedian)
Within minutes, the crowd multiplied to create a sea of peaceful protesters who flooded city streets on their way to Armenian Heritage Park, briefly shutting down traffic in different directions. “I’m here because we will do whatever it takes to prevent yet another attempted genocide again the Armenian people. I’m here to represent what’s right and what’s just,” said Arman Serebrakian as he marched through a busy Faneuil Hall with a tricolor scarf draped over his shoulders.
Armenian flags were waving from the open windows of a caravan of honking cars, blaring Armenian revolutionary songs. On Beacon Street, where a demonstration led by the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter occurred in the first week of the unprovoked attacks, activists parked their cars to halt traffic in the direction of the march. Several local broadcast news outlets documented Sunday’s spirited scene.
“It’s diasporan guilt. Why are my friends and family fighting to protect our land and I’m in America living comfortably? I won’t stop until our soldiers come home,” said New York resident Garen “Stretch” Spendjian who spent the weekend traveling to every protest in the eastern region.
Spendjian was one of the last protesters to arrive at the Park. During the march, he was jumping on whatever elevated surface he could find every 20 feet to educate onlookers and encourage them to learn more from the ANCA. Captivated audiences immediately grabbed their phones. “I have goosebumps all over my body,” said Abby Moler who had tears in her eyes after hearing Spendjian speak.
“All of our efforts advocating awareness of what’s happening in Armenia is working. My non-Armenian friends are really invested in learning and helping, and are constantly sharing our news within their own communities,” said 16-year-old Alice Tirakian who is also a member of Adolescent Activists, a New York-based youth group fighting for global injustice.
The 1.5 mile march ended at Armenian Heritage Park where Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Cambridge “Shushi” Chapter chairlady Ani Zargarian led in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner as well as the national anthems of Armenia and Artsakh. Then, Homenetmen Executive member George Barmakian, flanked by members of the New England clergy, initiated an emotional moment of silence to honor Armenia’s 400+ fallen heroes.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern Region Central Committee Chairman George Aghjayan and Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Chair Ara Balikian also addressed the crowd and encouraged their tireless advocacy work. “The Armenian people stand today united. We will not let [the Armenian Genocide] happen again,” Aghjayan exclaimed to a thunderous applause.